Who around you needs your tutelage and encouragement?
Today’s Scripture reading comes from 1 Timothy 4:12, quoting from the New King James Version:
“Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.”
“We need a volunteer.”
During a small group, morning devotion time, one of the guys commented, what if Paul had said instead: “We need a volunteer?” Do you think Timothy would have stepped forward? That question reflects good insight into the instructions Paul gives Timothy. Read the entirety of 1 Timothy 4 for a more complete grasp of the issues and of Paul’s admonitions.
Paul was wise enough not to give Timothy the idea that he was serving as a volunteer. Taught by his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice (see 2 Timothy 1:5), Timothy had been prepared for the call early in his life. Later, Paul calls him “his true son in the faith,” and we see Timothy being mentored in the hard work of an evangelist called to plant and strengthen churches, much as Paul and the other apostles were doing. Fittingly, Paul speaks to Timothy as a wise mentor, tutor, and encourager. The entire chapter aptly captures the confidence Paul instilled in Timothy. Essentially, Paul was saying to Timothy, “Live out what you believe and let others see you doing it.”
Who can live without encouragement? I am not referring to the light pat on the back that comes with completion of a physical fitness test or from a cheering crowd of observers watching you stride to the finish line at the end of a 5K, or even from the congratulations that accompany a well-deserved promotion. Those are all good things! I am talking about the encouragement that comes from one who is fully vested in your daily walk with the Lord.
As leaders and mentors, what mentorship lessons might we take from Paul in his heartfelt concern for Timothy?
Points to Ponder
Over the next week, here are 3 points to ponder during your personal time of reflection or with a small group or mentor.
- First, instill confidence in what they are doing, perseverance to the calling, and modeling a life worthy of emulation. They must encourage others to live out their calling—even when it gets tough (see 1 Timothy 4:11, 12, 14).
- Second, express loving, yet genuine, in-your-face concern. Encourage your Timothy to wrestle, struggle, and endure. Express a “do whatever it takes” commitment to see a task through and live out what he or she knows the Lord has called them to do (see 1 Timothy 4:15).
- Third, capture and remove ambiguity. Confirm the path of the one being mentored with gentle reminders that his or her efforts are also for the good of others (see 1 Timothy 4:16).
Who around you needs your tutelage and encouragement? Let’s imitate what Paul did for Timothy. Don’t ask for volunteers, but encourage others to fulfill their calling or act of service.